At the NCAA Regional Championships hosted by Southern Maine on Saturday, Nov. 11, the women’s cross country team finished in fourth in a field of 56 teams and the men’s team came in third in a field of 55. The next day, both teams were selected to compete in the 2017 NCAA championship races on Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Principia College North Farm Cross Country Course in Elsah, Illinois.
The women’s team placed fourth in the regional championship with a total of 113 points. The only teams in front of them were MIT with a score of 56, Tufts with a score of 92 and Williams with a score of 106. Abigail Nadler ’19 was the fastest Middlebury runner with a time of 20:49.4, which won her fifth place in the race. Next up for Middlebury were Kate MacCary ’19 and Meg Wilson ’20 in 20th and 26th-place, respectively. MacCary’s finished in 21:46.4 and Wilson in 22:10.4. Read Allen ’18 captured thirtieth place with a time of 22:11.9. The final scorer for Middlebury was Rory Kelly ’19 with a time of 22:17.3, which put her in thirty-sixth place.
The men’s team placed third with a total of 124 points. The two teams in front of them were Amherst with 91 points and MIT with 81 points. The first scorer for the men was Ascencion Aispuro ’18 who was the fourth competitor to cross the line, and he did so with a time of 25:32.9. The next scorer was Matt D’Aquila ’21 in 15th-place with a time of 25:50.9. Then, in 25th-place was Harrison Knowlton ’19 with a time 26:01.9. The final two scorers for the men were Theo Henderson ’20 with a time of 26:10.3 and Henry Fleming ’20 with a time of 26:22.2. Henderson finished in 31st and Fleming came in 49th.
Fleming made sure to praise the efforts of the entire team, especially Aispuro and D’Aquila. “Our captain, Ascencion, had an amazing day,” said Fleming. “Matt got 15th, making him the fastest freshman in the region which is really exciting for the team.”
Both the women’s and men’s teams were awarded with at-large teams to the NCAA championships. This marks the 22nd-consecutive appearance in the national championship race for the women’s squad, and the seventh-consecutive time the men’s team has received a bid to run at the championships.
The women’s team’s race starts on Saturday at noon, while the gun will sound for the men’s race at 1:15.
“As a team we need to have a complete day in which every guy feels solid,” said Fleming, as both the men and the women prepare for their final race of the season. “It’s going to take an aggressive start and a lot of energy, a lot of fun, and a lot of high fives at the starting line to really get ready to go from the gun.”